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I have been giving the “need for recharge” among introverts much thought. Many say that extroverts get energy through people-interaction and introverts need some solitude away from people, because, in fact, it is people that are draining the introvert’s energy. In a previous article, I have explained that an introvert’s desire to be alone and recharge is truly just the result of the energy drain caused by shifting one’s focus onto the external, instead of the introvert’s natural internal processing (see Need to Recharge?). I have also noticed the times that seem to trigger this need for recharge in me (see When Do You Need to Recharge?):
- When I am trying to think and because of interruptions or too many things happening, I can’t.
- Strained conversation with strangers or those I don’t relate to very well.
- Being “on stage” for extended periods of time.
For me, it is not people in general that drain me or give me the need to recharge, but rather situations with people that cause strain in my thinking. For example, with people that talk a lot – it’s not the person that is draining, but the continual talking that doesn’t allow an introvert to think. Or when “working a room” it’s not the people in the room that are draining, but the need to get outside one’s own mind to carry on small talk that causes the drain.
This past week I experienced a day that made me realize that it is not always alone time that gives me recharge, but it is thinking – and very satisfying thinking – that can energize me. Sometimes this is with people!
I had a day filled with meetings. Often back-to-back meetings can be draining on me. This particular day was a filled with meetings that either I was in charge of the meeting or was an important member of the meeting. The meetings were filled with decisions that needed to be made and many variables and situations that needed to be worked out. It involved quite a bit of back and forth with my colleagues. As I mentioned, some days like this could be draining, but this day I was energized by thinking through problems and coming up with solutions in a collaborative way.
So, I am learning for myself that it is not always people that are draining to me, but it is rather the situations with people that can be draining. Once again, I don’t think all introverts fit neatly into a box, but it’s important to get to know ourselves, how we function best, and what drains and recharges us, so as much as possible, we can build recharge opportunities into our daily routine.